Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way. I’m sure you’ve heard of the fight/flight/freeze response. Those are the three ways our bodies react with stress.
Stress can keep you on your toes, sharpens your concentration, and can give you that extra drive, but beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful, and instead becomes harmful to the body.
We all handle stress differently, and some may even believe that they manage better under stress. However, research shows just the opposite. You may be asking yourself, what are the symptoms, or signs of stress. You may experience memory problems, the inability to concentrate, poor judgement, only seeing the negative, anxious or racing thoughts, constantly worrying. Or from a physical standpoint, you may experience aches and pains, diarrhea or constipation, nausea and dizziness, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, and frequent colds and infection. Moodiness may abound, you may have a short temper, feel agitated, unable to relax, feel easily overwhelmed, experience depression, or want to isolate yourself from everyone else. Perhaps you begin to eat more, or less, procrastinate, neglect your responsibilities, and over use alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes. These can all be signals of too much stress in your life.
Your ability to manage this stress depends on many factors including your quality of relationships, your general outlook on life, your emotional intelligence and your genetics. A strong support network of friends and family can do wonders for your ability to manage stress. Your outlook on life, especially if you are an optimist can make you more stress-hardy. Optimists tend to embrace challenges, have a strong sense of humor, and more readily accept change as a part of life.
To manage your stress think of the 4 A’s.
Avoid – Learn how to say NO! Distinguish between shoulds and musts. Steer clear of people or situations that stress you out.
Alter – If you can’t avoid, then alter. Be more assertive and deal with issues head on.
Adapt – When you can’t change stressors, try changing yourself. Reframe problems or focus on positives in life.
Accept – Learn to accept the inevitable rather than fight it. Look for the upside in all situations.
You can cope better with stress by strengthening your physical health.
– Set aside relaxation time, meditation
– Exercise regularly, yoga is especially good for minimizing stress
– Eat a healthy diet
– Get plenty of sleep
– Reduce stress with music
– Practice pranayam which are breathing techniques
– Talk to someone
For more information and to take a stress test, visit this Help Guide.